Movie review – The spy who was pushed into the cold

2011-02-04 10:31

Film: Fair Game (Nu Metro)
Director: Doug Liman
Featuring: Naomi Watts, Sonya Davison, Sean Penn, Sam Shepard and David Andrews
Rating: 8/10

If you’ve forgotten just how dastardly George W Bush’s regime was, and if the bogus reasons for the Iraqi war have been set aside by your mind, Fair Game will reawaken those memories.

All wrapped up as a fast-paced drama, this is the true story of how a patriotic spy was famously outed by her own government because her family challenged the military-industrial complex.

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you, and the Bush Administration, fronted by Dick Cheney, got their woman. But in the end, she got back at them.

Starring Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame, for whom she’s a dead ringer, and Sean Penn as her husband, Joseph Wilson, Fair Game is the kind of film that makes you huff and puff with the unfairness of it all.

Plame was outed in a newspaper column in 2003 as a result of information that came from Dick Cheney’s office. As a CIA operative, Plame worked in counter-proliferation and was instrumental in proving that the Iraqis had no weapons of mass destruction, the same non-existent weapons the Bush Administration used as an excuse to invade the Middle Eastern country.

Plame’s story is perfect for the big screen. A petite, attractive blonde with nerves of steel, she is the antithesis of the quintessential Hollywood spy. No fedora hat, no trench coat, no lurking in dark corridors with incomprehensible passwords.

A family woman with small children, this film plays on how the might of the powerful can be misused to crush ordinary people.

For all these reasons and more, Fair Game works as an action drama, even though much of the subject matter is relatively complicated.

Penn, as always, gives a solid performance as Plame’s husband and former US ambassador Wilson, who refutes the government’s claims that the Iraqis have nuclear arms loudly and in print, bringing the wrath of the system down on him and his wife.

Director Doug Liman’s experience from The Bourne Identity makes Fair Game thrilling, and with seasoned actors such as Penn and Watts to flesh out the characters, this film is a thinking person’s action thriller.

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